Freedom from Guilt

63
The Confessional - Friar and Fair Penitent (in the manner of Egbert van Heemskerck the elder)

 

Recently I received the sacrament of Confession which was such a blessing since I hadn’t been unable to get Confession during quarantine. I can’t explain the freedom and peace I felt after going. It is true that we don’t realise how much something means until it is gone.

During quarantine, I missed going to Mass and Confession very much. I realised how much holding onto our sins can have an effect on us and how not going to Confession affects our relationship with Jesus.

A lot of people get quite nervous going into Confession which is very understandable as it can be quite daunting. Usually before I go, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and that way I can make a real and honest Confession.

Sometimes it can be hard to confess things we are embarrassed about so I usually close my eyes and just try to think of Jesus being beside me and listening to me, because in confession the Priest is acting as he it were Jesus.

The Church is the body of Christ so it follows that the Church does what Jesus Christ did on earth. He forgave sins and He gave His apostles the power to forgive sins in His name. The Priest has received that authority through his ordination by a successor of the Apostles. When the Priest pronounces the absolution he is copying that 2000 year old gift of Christ to His Church.

We have to remember Jesus is alive and He is there to forgive us and we must be open to receive the gift! I learnt to love going to Confession as I see it like one-on-one time with Jesus where I can just open up to Him and show Him myself at my most humble, which is a beautiful thing.

I think a lot of people see Confession as something to be scared of and that we should feel extremely guilty but the whole point of Confession is feeling freedom from guilt. We can hold on to too much stuff and try and bury it somewhere in us and think it won’t affect us, but all the sins we hold onto can bring us a lot of guilt and shame.

Reconciliation isn’t just about receiving forgiveness for our sins as we also receive special graces through the Sacrament to help us fight against sin and temptation. This helps us grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus.

If you have trouble knowing how to make a good confession make sure to talk to the Priest and ask his advice and help. He should be able to assist you to make a good confession.

“Confession is an act of honesty and courage, an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God” –Pope John Paul II

 

Finding God in the gifts we have

Many of us have different gifts and talents. The gifts we have are given to us by God and He wants us to use them.

For example someone might be gifted in playing a certain sport, or in gardening. Both these things require us to be outside in God’s creation where we can be around nature.

God uses our gifts to show us all the good around us. Another example is having a gift of playing music or singing. We can use this gift for our own glory but also for God’s glory.

So, for example, when we sing to God we pray twice, as the saying goes. We are giving thanks to God in song and also finding Him in our gift. Our gifts are not limited to just physical things but the Holy Spirit also gives us gifts such as patience, love and self -control. We can use these to help people around us and to grow in our relationship with God.

It is also important to pray to the Holy Spirit to increase those gifts within us so that we can become better people. It is important that we use our gifts and if we are talented at something that we persevere in that talent. Too many people wish they could play an instrument, be an athlete, or be a great cook and yet so many people have these talents and they waste them.

I think when we find more of a meaning and purpose for our lives we find more of a meaning and purpose for our gifts. When I first found my gift in music I practiced a lot and enjoyed it very much but once I started playing music for prayer meetings and Mass I felt like I was giving back to God what he had given to me.

Personally, I want to be able to say after all my years living on this earth that I used the gifts God gave me and I found Him in those gifts.

“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God – Leo Buscaglia

 

Why should we pray Novenas?

A novena is a prayer, or set of prayers which is prayed for nine days, hours, weeks or, sometimes, months. Novenas are usually prayed to particular Saints, for example, a novena to St. Anne (who would be my patron saint).

We often pray for a specific intention or grace. Sometimes Catholics may ask the question, “Why should we pray novenas?” In Luke 18:1 Jesus says “pray always without becoming weary.” Therefore, Jesus tells us to pray with persistence .

We’ll never go wrong when we obey Christ and He promises that prayer works. We should pray novenas because they are a valuable form of conversation with God and His saints. We have to remember God always attends to the prayers of His faithful. We may or may not always get exactly what we want after praying a novena but as we pray novenas, we are praising God and we also are learning to wait and trust.

Even if we don’t get exactly what we intended we will be rewarded in whatever way God feels we should be. An amazing thing is that when we pray a novena we always grow in faithful perseverance which we need to grow in our relationship with God.